About Independence Hall – Tel Aviv
Independence Hall, part of the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, is the site in which the State of Israel was founded.
History of Independence Hall
The plot on which Independence Hall stands was originally where the new Jewish neighbourhood of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909. 66 families gathered to choose plots of land via a lottery. Plot 43, on which Independence Hall now stands, was originally the home of Meir and Zina Dizengoff: Meir was the head of the new neighbourhood council, and on the death of his wife Zina, Meir donated their house to the city of Tel Aviv, when it became the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
The State of Israel had long been hoped for, and in 1917, the British government, who at that point controlled the area, formally endorsed Zionism in the Balfour Declaration. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the British formally handed a proposal about creating the State of Israel from what was Palestine to the United Nations. This passed, 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions. Unsurprisingly, Arab countries opposed the plan and rejected the idea. Nonetheless, it was passed, and the British began preparations to withdraw from the area by October 1948.
At 4 pm on 14 May 1948, eight hours before the end of the British Mandate, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion made the Proclamation of Independence, and with the blessing of Rabbi Fischman, created the State of Israel.
In 1971, Tel Aviv Museum of Art moved buildings, and in 1978, Independence Hall underwent restoration work to mirror how it had looked in 1948 when Ben Gurion made his declaration, before opening to the public.
Independence Hall today
Independence Hall is open to the public today: there’s a short introductory film and a tour of the very hall in which Ben Gurion made his Declaration of Independence, as well as a variety of objects related to the ceremony itself, including documents, photos and objects. It’s worth a visit to understand how the creation of the State of Israel came about, despite the slightly faded surroundings. Closed on Friday afternoons and Saturday.
Getting to Independence Hall
Independence Hall is located at number 16, Rothschild Boulevard – one of Tel Aviv’s most snazzy addresses. Buses 14, 18, 23, 24 and 48 all stop a few hundred metres away from the entrance, conveniently.
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